Apple stock has received a multitude of price target cuts and at least one downgrade on the back of last night’s earnings report, but despite this, analysts aren’t giving up hope. The problem is that the iPhone has been carrying the company’s earnings for years, and last night’s report offered the first sign that the device and its maker aren’t invincible.
Apple stock weighs on broader market
Apple stock shaved 56 points off the Dow Industrial Average in early trading this morning as it has been the index’s worst performing so far this year. Shares tumbled by more than 7% before stabilizing. Apple stock is down 6.28% at $97.80 per share as of this writing, making today the first day the stock has been under $100 per share since the February crash that affected the broader market.
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Last night’s earnings report effectively erased $46 billion from Apple’s market capitalization. Business Insider noted that one word that’s been in the headline of each of the iPhone maker’s quarterly earnings reports for several years was missing: the word “record.”
The company shipped 51.2 million iPhones, a significant decline from the year-ago quarter’s 61.2 million units. The average selling price declined from $659 last year to $642, and the $50.6 billion in revenue that was reported missed consensus estimates. Adjusted earnings came in at $1.90 per share, against the consensus of $2. The June quarter guidance also missed consensus estimate with revenue projected at between $41 billion and $43 billion, against the consensus of $47.3 billion, and gross margin expected at between 37.5% and 38%, against the consensus of 39.3%. The implied earnings range is between $1.30 and $1.45 per share, which again is far short of consensus at $1.76.
Hope springs eternal as focus now shifts to iPhone 7
Analysts in general are still positive on the company, and we wouldn’t really expect anything else. Pacific Crest Securities analyst Andy Hargreaves believes fiscal 2017 will bring a return to iPhone unit growth, based on early iPhone 7 component orders. He cut his target from $127 to $123 per share but recommend buying Apple on the pullback. Baird analyst William Power is also banking on the iPhone 7 to improve the Apple story but noted the significant 26% decline in Greater China revenues. His price target falls from $130 to $120 per share.
In addition to the iPhone 7, Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White is also looking forward to new geographic opportunities for Apple, like India and China’s Tier 3-5 cities.
Oppenheimer downgrades Apple stock
One of the more bearish reviews today comes from Oppenheimer analyst Andy Uerkwitz and his team. They downgraded Apple stock from Outperform to Perform this morning, and unlike almost every other analyst on the Street, they don’t think the iPhone 7 is going to fix all of the company’s problems. In fact, they don’t expect a return to iPhone growth until 2017.
They’re predicting a unit decline “well into” the iPhone 7 cycle with single-digit declines projected for the December 2016, March 2017 and June 2017 quarters, although they note that consensus estimates imply moderate growth in all three of those quarters. They believe Apple is working on adding virtual reality to the iPhone, which will be the next key differentiator that they believe will convince consumers to upgrade. They don’t expect this technology until the 2017 iPhone models.
At this point, they like Apple as a company but not as an investment as they don’t believe the stock will work again until growth returns.
Other price target cuts for Apple stock
Plenty of other analysts also cut their estimates and price targets for Apple. Piper Jaffray analysts moved their target from $172 to $153 per share but said their bullish view hasn’t changed much. Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts cut their target from $120 to $125, while BMP Capital Markets slashed its targets from $130 to $117 per share.
Of course this is certainly not an exhaustive list, and there were still plenty of analysts who maintained their price targets after last night’s report.